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Busy First Week For Southwest Delegation

Senators and Representatives introduced measures to take a same-sex marriage ban off the 2012 ballot.

Minneapolis’ delegation to the State Capitol had a busy first week back at work, introducing bills that covered everything from the governor’s bonding proposal to repair infrastructure to striking the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage off the November ballot.

Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) was perhaps the most prolific, introducing or becoming a sponsor of eight bills. In addition to joining in the effort to rescind a 20 percent pay cut given to Minnesotans who care for disabled family members, Hornstein also joined in a measure that would create same-sex civil unions in Minnesota.

Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) introduced a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the legal doctrine of “corporate personhood” in Minnesota. Progressives and politicians blame this doctrine for encouraging corporate greed and power. Hayden also proposed a $1 million fund for grants that would support groups bringing the arts to K-12 students.

Rep. Susan Allen (DFL-Minneapolis), the newest member of the delegation, introduced an infrastructure bonding bill and a measure extending the lifespan of the state’s American Indian Advisory Council. The group will be dissolved by law at the end of June if no action is taken.

Tuesday was the deadline for political action committees—such as Minnesota for Marriage and Minnesotans United For All Families—to file campaign finance reports. The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will likely release the full reports Wednesday morning.

Since the anti-marriage amendment was introduced late in last year’s state legislative session, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (D-Richfield/Minneapolis) has been very vocal about his stance against the measure, 

Just before the 2012 session began last Tuesday, : “I think it’s a mistake that it’s even on the ballot. I am cautiously optimistic that people will side with opportunity [for all].”

Sen. Ken Kelash (DFL-Richfield/Minneapolis) joined with Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St Louis Park/Hopkins) and minority leader Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) to sponsor a bill that would pull the amendment from November's ballot. Southwest’s Hornstein joined the list of authors in the House’s version of the bill.

"It’ll be a long shot, but there are enough Republicans who've expressed remorse, and it’ll give them the opportunity to vote their conscience," Dibble told Patch in .

Dibble also introduced or joined in supporting several bills as part of the governor’s bonding proposal, a measure implementing a deal merging the city’s firefighter and police pensions with the state pension system, along with a measure creating a foreclosure moratorium in Minnesota.

In an interview with Patch, Dibble said the foreclosure bill was intended to help homeowners work out deals with lenders.

“We’re not relieving people of their responsibilities,” said Dibble.

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